Biggest quarter for iPhone sales, says iSuppli

A bigger screen and LTE capability will drive the iPhone 5 to record sales, says a marker researcher.

iPhone 5.
iPhone 5. Apple

Apple is headed for a record quarter for iPhone sales, according to market researcher IHS iSuppli.

The fourth quarter will be huge, iSuppli said in a research note today. "Apple's biggest quarter for iPhone sales in history."

The iPhone 5 will drive Apple's smartphone shipments in 2012 to 149 million units, up 60 percent from 93 million in 2011, iSuppli said.

"The new phone will be released with just over a week left in the third quarter, so most of the iPhone 5 sales bump in 2012 will be seen in the final [fourth] quarter of the year," iSuppli said.

Some of this surge is due to buyers delaying iPhone purchases. "Prospective buyers hold off on purchasing during the time leading up to the rollout of the new device. This phenomenon depressed iPhone sales in the second quarter of this year," according to iSuppli.

IHS iSuppli

That said, today's announcement is bigger than the 4S. "Unlike last year's release of the iPhone 4S, this year's iPhone 5 announcement comes as a significant departure from previous models," Daniel Gleeson, an iSuppli analyst, said in a statement.

He continues. "The addition of a new, larger screen is a fundamental change in product design. Furthermore, the iPhone 5 is the first member of Apple's smartphone line to feature 4G long term evolution (LTE) connectivity, accelerating data speeds dramatically compared to previous models. These major improvements will drive strong sales for the iPhone 5."

And the fact that the iPhone 5 supports global 4G LTE frequencies will give it an additional boost.

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